Today, we’re diving into the world of Meta‘s latest social media app, “Threads“. This new platform, described by Meta as “a stand-alone decentralized social network for sharing text updates”, is essentially a Twitter alternative. It’s a place where users can share text-based updates and follow people and organizations that matter to them.
What is Threads?
Threads is a new app developed by the Instagram team, designed to help creators share ideas and conversations with the world. It’s available in over 100 countries and can be downloaded through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You can log in with your Instagram account to get started in a few easy steps. Your username and verification badge from Instagram will carry over, and your Instagram followers are automatically invited to follow you on Threads.
The feed on Threads includes posts by people you follow and new creators you haven’t discovered yet. Posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length. You can easily share a Threads post to your Instagram story, or share your post as a link on any other platform you choose.
How Does Threads Work?
Threads allows you to sign up using your Instagram login, and you’ll be able to follow all the accounts you already follow on Instagram on Threads automatically as they join. You can send posts of up to 500 characters, include images, gifs, and videos of up to five minutes in length. It bears a resemblance to Twitter with short text-based pieces of content, likes, and reposts. You can quote a thread similar to quote tweeting.
One of the main criticisms of Threads in the hours since it launched is that people are seeing a mixture of posts from the accounts they’re following and then a bunch of random accounts. Meta has indicated it’s a mixture of followed accounts and algorithmic recommendations. There’s no way to see just the posts of the people you follow at the moment, and the company hasn’t indicated whether it will provide this option in the future.
Privacy and Control
If you want to keep your Instagram more personal, you can keep it locked down and have Threads public. Though if you’re under 16, the Threads account, like Instagram, is private by default. You can make Threads private at any time, and also choose who can reply to your posts on Threads.
Threads is built with tools to enable positive, productive conversations. You can control who can mention you or reply to you within Threads. Like on Instagram, you can add hidden words to filter out replies to your threads that contain specific words. You can unfollow, block, restrict or report a profile on Threads by tapping the three-dot menu, and any accounts you’ve blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on Threads.
Interoperability and the Future
Soon, Threads plans to be compatible with ActivityPub, the open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body responsible for the open standards that power the modern web. This would make Threads interoperable with other apps that also support the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress – allowing new types of connections that are simply not possible on most social apps today. Other platforms including Tumblr have shared plans to support the ActivityPub protocol in the future.
This compatibility with interoperable networks means that if you have a public profile on Threads, your posts would be accessible from other apps, allowing you to reach new people with no added effort. If you have a private profile, you’d be able to approve users on Threads who want to follow you and interact with your content, similar to your experience on Instagram.
The benefits of open social networking protocols go well beyond the ways people can follow each other. Developers can build new types of features and user experiences that can easily plug into other open social networks, accelerating the pace of innovation and experimentation. Each compatible app can set its own community standards and content moderation policies, meaning people have the freedom to choose spaces that align with their values.
Threads is a new and exciting addition to the social media landscape. It offers a unique blend of features from existing platforms, while also introducing new concepts that could shape the future of social networking. Whether you’re a creator looking for a new platform to share your ideas or a user seeking a fresh social media experience, Threads might just be the app for you.